Trying to balance your health around your job can feel like a difficult tightrope act. You need to get your medical care in order, but your job can be demanding coverage that’d be difficult to provide.
Redditor TAeyeop needs some emergency eye surgery. However, their needed time off conflicts with another employee. This is causing a problem for the two.
The original poster (OP) has a medical necessity, and feels he really needs the time, but their coworker has had their wedding planned for two years and canceling last minute is causing massive issues.
OP isn’t sure if they were wrong to have requested the time off, and decided to ask the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit about how the situation went down.
If it wasn’t an emergency, OP wouldn’t have asked.
“AITA for having an operation in the same week as my work colleague wedding causing my manager to cancel her time off?”
But who should OP’s co-worker be upset with?
“I’m in my late 20s and work in a large retail chain. I have a work colleague ‘Candice’ (22-23f) who is planning to get married later this month.”
“Originally she was planning the wedding for 2020 however due to lockdowns etc it had to be postponed to 2022. She has booked 2 weeks off for her wedding and for her honeymoon nearly 2 years in advance and everything is paid for.”
“Me and Candice work in the same store section (white goods).”
“Now I had bad eyesight as long as I can remember myself and was finally able to save for an operation. Upon the check up the doctor said he operation must happen sooner rather then later.”
“They explained that they can see a small rapture in one of my eyes and they are worried that if I fall down or hit my head or due to stress it will become worth and they won’t be able to fix it, which would make me uneligable for an operation. Due to this the operation was scheduled for the time of Candice wedding.”
“When I have told my boss that I will need 2 weeks off for the same week, they declined my request saying its too short notice and Candice already booked it off, so us 2 can’t be off at the same time.”
“I had to go through the doctor to have a note issued stating I will be having an operation and due to recovery will not be able to work for those 2 weeks and legally it is not something my boss can decline.”
“Because of this and since Candice wedding is more than 2 weeks away, he cancelled her holiday request. She can’t get any refunds at such short notice and said she will take unpaid leave in this case, however our boss said he won’t be granting her any leave as we are understaffed (someone started their maternity leave recently) and if she won’t show up, then they will treat it as unauthorised absence which will lead to dismissal.”
“During our shift Candice had a go at me and called me a massive asshole for scheduling the operation during her wedding and getting signed off, making her even more stressed before the wedding. Some other colleagues believe I’m in the wrong too and should have chosen different dates.”
After sharing their story, OP had to go back and update with some more information.
“Edit: this is getting asked a lot. I am not able to reschedule the surgery as my doctor believed it was urgent, should have been done a lot sooner and if not done quickly then it might make me uneligable for any other eyesight improving operations and permanently affect my eyesight.”
“He has tried to book me in for next week, but there was no availability, so he went with the earliest available dates that were reserved for emergencies.”
And once again, there needed to be some clarification on what OP’s exact situation is with their medical situation.
“Edit 2: as some people seem to be missing the point.”
“1 – my doctor scheduled the operation on those days not me.”
“2 – original operation was a Lasik operation, which I would be happy to carry later on in the year and it had a waiting list since it is not covered by NHS or considered vital for your health.”
“3 – my doctor found a rapture which made him book an operation sooner as it was not spotted by any other doctors. So the reason for the emergency now is not for me to have better eyesight but not to go blind or make my condition worse.”
“If the problem was spotted by other health professionals sooner I would have booked it sooner, but I was just made aware of the issue and those dates are the earliest he can book me in.”
OP didn’t pick the time for their surgery, and their doctor is insistent that it’s necessary to be done as soon as possible. But it’s easy to see how Candice would be upset, since her long planned wedding is falling apart.
Should OP have not requested the time off?
On Reddit, the users of the board judged OP for getting a medical note for their surgery causing their coworker’s time off to be canceled by including one of the following in their response:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
You might feel guilty seeing your coworker having to cancel their wedding, but it’s not OP’s fault they have a medical emergency. On top of that, it’s not Candice’s fault for being so frustrated about canceling her wedding.
As commenters agreed, it was management’s fault for not being prepared. They had two years to ensure adequate coverage for Candice’s time off, and that includes if an emergency comes up with another employee.
The commenters didn’t blame OP or Candice, declaring NAH.
“NAH between you and Candace but your boss is an absolute dick. I mean, it’s just retail if I were her I’d fucking quit the last day before the wedding and just get a new job after.”
“No one I know would consider that kind of situation a red flag while hiring” – armchairshrink99
“Absolutely. As soon as his time off is done OP should quit too.”
“Making out like weddings and surgeries come second to a retail job is incompetent management. Only way the manager will learn is to bear the consequences of their actions.” – Ok_Two_8173
“Was going to say this. If they are willing to treat Candice like this and only give OP the time off begrudgingly, they’ll treat others the same or worse.” – YukariYakum0
“NTA – your managers are, however, massive, pulsating, assholes. You have a medical issue that needs resolving, Candice has had her time off booked well in advance for a major life event. Both are valid reasons for time off.”
“I can see why Candice is upset but she directing her anger at the wrong person because her attitude would not fly if it was directed at management.”
“What’s so important about your particular role that they cannot allow an exception to have two people off at the same time just this once?” – Dabbles-In-Irony
“Your boss is TA here. Your stuff is one of those things that can occur, but that shouldn’t effect your co-worker.”
“What if someone calls in sick while another worker is on vacation? Does your boss expect vacationing employee to just show up?”
“Your co-worker is booked, and you have an emergency, your boss should make do without you both.” – togocann49
“Exactly. The boss had two years, TWO YEARS, to ensure he had adequate coverage in Candice’s absence. Ensuring you have coverage means taking into consideration the fact that another employee may have a medical emergency or call out.”
“The lack of coverage is not your problem, and it’s not Candice’s problem either. It’s his and his alone” – Motherofbeansthecat
The commenters mostly agreed that this was a bad management issue.
“NTA. You have a medical procedure that shouldn’t be left unchecked. They should have hired someone to replace the person going on leave, and maybe a floater to replace the person that would be gone for 2 weeks on their wedding.”
“If it’s a big box chain store, can’t they pull someone from another store to work there temporarily?”
“Coworker should go get married and not worry about a bad company that would cancel her vacation time. They should have planned better (though I get yours was an emergency situation so it’s hard to plan for those)” – bluemonker0
“Not a lot of people want to switch to work at our store as its either out of their ways or because they heard of bad management practices.” – TAeyeop (OP)
“Well that’s managements problem. You and Candice should speak to someone higher up the chain.” – GennyNels
“Totally understandable, but, in special situations like this, you’d think there would be someone willing to accommodate.” – bluemonker0
Some suggested that if OP or Candice can handle the financial hit, be prepared to quit, but that’s not feasible for everyone. They can continue to demand better from their supervisors though.